Frank Richardson

My dad, my kids’ grandad, Frank Richardson, was my hero.

He became a patient at St. Michael’s because of his cancer of the oesophagus. We had six weeks with him after being told he had cancer and that time was very difficult but the staff at the Hospice gave us so much support and we were very grateful for this care. The cancer meant he couldn’t eat very much but they took such good care of him.

I used to visit often; I was very close to my dad. My children, Marc, Hayley and Chloe, were all young and all enjoyed visiting too. They were made so welcome and enjoyed doing little jobs at the Hospice. Everyone stopped to chat to them.

My dad’s favourite nurse was Paul. He was great and very good with the children. He used to tell us all stories about his trips away. He helped me loads and sat with my mum when my dad had bad days and needed rest. Paul sat with me asking if I needed anything.

My dad loved the garden. His favourite flowers were roses and his favourite song was Blue Moon (he loved singing and dancing). We all loved sitting by the pond watching the fish and taking a picnic. My dad loved his grandkids and enjoyed spending time with them. We visited the herb garden; he would pick some and see if the kids could guess the smell. There was a special one that we loved and that we called ‘lemon herb’ which has a scent we will never forget. It was a warm furry leaf and he used to put it in his dressing gown pockets. My children have a passion for smells as it gives them warm memories.

We pushed him around in a wheelchair – crashing into all sorts but the children were always smiling and laughing, it was such a comfortable place. He had a special bond with them.

When he became a bit more poorly and unable to use the wheelchair, Paul said he could have a ride in his bed as he loved being outside, being free. The children’s eye’s lit up, they thought this was great. We took the bed out with the kids sitting on it too and it was like an outing.

My daughter Chloe, aged 8, does the Race for Life every year in aid of St. Michael’s. She was just 4 the first year she did it and she has raised over £100 in total so far. This makes me so proud.

Three weeks after my dad passed away, I was gifted with a little girl. I named her Sophie Frances after him. She has such character and in so many ways is just like him. His last words to me were ‘keep baby warm.’ We still visit the Hospice and sit at the pond and walk around smelling the flowers. These memories will go on for years. We always come to Light up a Life too and the Sunfl ower Service.

Five years have gone by now since dad passed. My dad was my hero always and I will always be his little girl. I got a ring made with his ashes and an inscription of ‘his little girl’ so that he is always with me.

Caroline Rolls

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